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Babies start teething between four and seven months after their birth. As a mother you get excited, when you see your baby teething, however, for a baby, teething is extremely painful. Teething can cause pain in a baby’s gums and prevent him from sleeping. So, here are some ways in which you can put your baby to sleep.
Tips to Help a Child Sleep During Teething
As a new mother, you will receive ample advice on parenting that will boggle your mind. Your baby will be in intense pain and his sleeping schedule may also get disturbed because of the same. Therefore, to get your teething baby to sleep, here are some tips that will be useful to you:
1. Give Baby Something Cold to Chew On
Cold de-sensitises nerves and reduces pain. This is why, nowadays, toy companies are creating refrigerate-able rubber or gel-core based teethers. Teethers are special toys made to be chewed on. The pressure on a baby’s teeth caused by chewing can provide relief from teething pain. The instinct to begin chewing to reduce the pain of teething is natural in humans and animals. If you do not have any refrigerator-friendly teething toys, you can substitute it with a clean, frozen rag instead. Do not freeze teething toys as that will make them hard and could hurt your baby’s teeth. Simply chill them before using. Also, always be present to supervise your baby when he is chewing something. Teething toys are designed to be chewed and not swallowed, so keep an eye on your baby.
2. Massage the Gums
Your baby might refuse to sleep alone when he starts teething. As you lay him on the bed, massage his gums with your finger. This will ease the pain and help put your baby to sleep. If he wakes up in the middle of the night, you can massage again to help him sleep through the night. As you massage the gums, you will be able to feel where the teeth are coming in. Focus on massaging these areas in particular. Ensure that your fingers are clean before you massage him.
3. Give Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea helps reduce inflammation, soothe stomach aches, boost immunity, promote relaxation and induce sleep. Giving chamomile tea to a teething baby will provide him relief from the teething pain and even induce sleep. Chamomile tea can be given to a baby through a feeding bottle at room temperature or mildly warm. You can even soak a clean rag in chamomile tea and freeze it before giving it to your baby to chew on. However, it should be noted that chamomile tea should not be given to the babies who are less than six months. You can give it to a baby who has crossed the half-year mark, however, it is still safe to consult a doctor before opting for this remedy.
4. Give Cold Food Before Bedtime
Cold soothes the pain in the gums and a full stomach induces sleep. You can give cold yoghurt or cold fruits and vegetables, such as grapes or boiled carrots. However, keep in mind to give them age-appropriate food, i.e. fruits or veggies that they can actually chew properly. An option here would be to buy a mesh feeding bag. This is used to start young babies on solid foods safely, without the risk of swallowing too big a piece and choking.
5. Create a Calm Environment
To make your baby sleep, it is important that you set a sleeping schedule. When a baby has a set pattern of sleep, his body adjusts accordingly. This makes him sleepy as the bedtime approaches. A bed-time routine also subconsciously signals that it is time to sleep when it is followed for weeks. It essentially works on the same principles of habit formation. The routine could include a warm bath, changing to pyjamas, reading a short story, singing to your baby or rocking him in your arms until he falls asleep.
Breastfeeding also calms your baby. As your baby teeth, he might gnaw on your nipples and hurt you. To prevent this, massage your baby’s gums prior to feeding. Breastfeeding is an effective way to soothe your baby and put him to sleep.
7. Use Pain-killing Medication
This should be your last resort if you’ve tried the other methods without any positive result. Pain-killers can help alleviate your baby’s pain and put him to sleep. Always consult your doctor before resorting to medication. Do not buy over-the-counter pharmaceutical products for this. Painkillers such as Ibuprofen have special, diluted formulas made particularly for children and babies. Do not use adult painkillers. Also, consult your paediatrician first before giving any medicines to your little one.
How Long Does the Teething Pain Last
It is hard to say how long the teething pain lasts. For example, a baby might feel the pain for months before the teeth actually come through. Meanwhile, others may feel the pain once the teeth have formed in the gums and are making their way out. The intensity of pain may differ from one baby to another. However, the pain mostly goes away once the tooth has grown out of the gums. While your baby’s front teeth do come up in the first year, the back set of molars appear after the first year, so there is a period of relief from teething stress.
- Always watch your baby if he has something in his mouth, be it a teething toy, a rag or food. A baby may choke it, so be careful.
- Consult your physician before you use painkillers for your child.
- If the teething toy is secured on a string around your baby’s neck, do not leave it on when putting your baby to sleep. It could get stuck somewhere and end up strangling the baby when he rolls over.
- A common home remedy is to rub crushed aspirin tablets on your baby’s gums. Do not opt for this remedy. It may cause the baby to become extremely sick.
- Babies sometimes develop a habit of pulling their ear while teething as the pain of teething may transfer to the ear canal. If the pain is excessive, consult a doctor, as your baby could be suffering from an ear infection.
- Do not use over-the-counter creams or gels that may be suggested to be used on your baby’s gums as a numbing medication.
1. Should I Continue Sleep Training During Teething?
Yes, sleep training should continue during the teething phase. Keep in mind that this “phase” comes back around after the first year, and indeed, it will take up to 3 years before a child has all his milk teeth in place. Teething will disrupt a few nights’ sleep, but you should continue sleep training your child. Sticking to regular sleep timings and enforcing them by building a bed-time routine is one of the keys to putting your teething baby to sleep. Foregoing sleep training because your baby is teething and cannot sleep due to the pain usually makes it worse for the baby to get sleep.
2. Can Teething Make Some Babies Sleep More?
According to a popular website, some parents have anecdotally reported that their kids slept more while they were teething. Teething can make a baby feel a bit dull and hence he might sleep more. However, there is no evidence to prove it. Your baby might be sleeping more because he is going through a growth spurt. Babies are in a growing phase, although their growth may not always be constant, it can be rapid at one time and stable during another time, hence the term “growth spurt”. Children going through a growth spurt are seen to sleep more, whether while taking naps or while sleeping through the night. Teething is a natural process and sometimes the natural process can involve pain. As a mommy, you know the best, so do what you think is right.
Meanwhile, stick to sleep training because, in some years, your child will be alright. He will wake up well-rested, after a sound night of sleep with a precious smile showing off his brand new white teeth and you will forget these tough nights just like that.
Read this article in Arabic: نصائح كي ينام طفل في مرحلة التسنين